In Circus Europa the audience is taken on a sensational journey through a broad palette of new artworks. Here we experience Kvium’s well known imagery in a theatrical universe that both hearkens back to his early work in performance and film in the 1980s and consists of completely new media. The paintings, films, sculptures and installations set the scene for a tale about Europe.
Through Circus Europa Kvium sheds light on our current situation and the ongoing changes in Europe. The exhibition focuses on issues of tourism, entertainment, news, refugee crises, war and climate.
At the heart of Circus Europa are questions of European identity and community in a time when fear, xenophobia and hostility grow stronger and divide us. Nevertheless, our daily lives continue – the show must go on! With the circus as a metaphor of our time, Kvium depicts a world of entertainment where even the most serious news is marked by sensation and drama. Kvium portrays the political scene and our daily lives as one big circus act.
The artist is like a court jester who can tell the truth without necessarily being held responsible for it.
(Michael Kvium, 2017)
We step into Circus Europa as a comfortable and easy-going audience but the dramatic installations envelop us and draw us in before we notice it. We become part of a story of Europe that begins with seductive tricks and entertainment and develops into disturbing dystopia.
Tragicomic circus artistes entertain us with silly and morbid tricks. Through sharp irony and coarse humour Kvium exposes the absurdities in our society. The circus artistes perform for us and insistently confront us. Thus Kvium pulls us into the circus ring, in the middle of the buffoonery and madness, where he asks us: What role do we play in the Circus Europa?
An exhibition is not supposed to provide answers. It should confront us with questions that we ourselves must reflect upon.
(Michael Kvium, 2017)
The artist Michael Kvium (b. 1955) made his breakthrough on the art scene in the 1980s as part of the performance group Værst. Since then his signature media has been painting. Throughout his career he has addressed the existential themes of being human through his characteristic figurative imagery. Kvium has also done stage design for the theatre and exhibited all over the World.